Artist Interview: Didier Lourenço

Didier Lourenco

[BLOG NOTE: This exhibition is over.]

Didier Lourenço was immensely popular at the opening reception of his Singapore debut at Barnadas Huang gallery.

ellas  (330 dpi)

I imagine everyone was asking him about the girl with the large eyes that appears in every one of his paintings – including one where you are invited to seek her out among a crowd.

rostre  (330 dpi)

I spied my own chance to speak with the Catalan artist when he was posing for the photographer in front of the mysterious girl, this time on a bicycle, displayed in a smaller separate building opposite to the main exhibition area – where a 2-by-2 metre canvas takes centre stage; just her, no crowds no bicycles, brought to live with oil, on a black background, outlined with what looks like red chalk.

But no, it’s oil, the gallery owners assured me. The 46-year-old artist certainly has a way with the medium, the finished effect sometimes resembling chalk, sometimes peeled paint.

I approached, just as Lourenço “comes out” of his pose.

Tell us about your family.

My parents grew up in France – my father was born in Portugal, my Mother in Spain, but with the civil war in Spain, their families had to leave for France. When they got married they went back to Spain, and I was born there.

And how did you get started in art?

I learn the trade of lithography from my father. A tedious process, preparing the silk screen, long hours… But I wanted to make my own art, so I started painting in a corner of my studio. Self-taught, 25 years I have been painting.

Is there an artist who inspires you?

I‘m influenced by many painters, each has his particular interest. But If I have to pick one, Pablo Picasso for his creativity, a guy who never stops creating, sometimes the same story but in a different way.

What direction will your future works take?

As we get older, we want our lives more simple, and we become more abstract in a certain way. That’s a normal progression in my opinion. But I think my work is going to try to say more with less.

You selected some songs to accompany your works for this exhibition, does music play a big part in your life?

My favourite songs are related with things in my life. Like now we are listening to Joan Manuel Serrat (the Spanish singer’s 1971 hit Mediterráneo), who is a Catalan, and he is talking about the Mediterranean which is from I come from. When I’m painting I listen to anything. It’s many hours in the studio, the music sometimes I don’t listen, it’s just atmospheric. It’s difficult to pick 15 songs and say “That’s the one!”

Who is that girl?

I wish she was real, but she exists in my mind. I see her everywhere.


I had imagined a rather different response. But as I concluded my interview with Lourenço, a Joan Manuel Serrat song plays  in the background. He sings of a sailor’s romantic love and the love for his homeland, I couldn’t help but wonder if Lourenço’s paintings speak of a parallel where a Catalonian girl disturbs a flutter of butterflies as she rushes home on her bicycle to feed her hungry cats.

el equilibrista  (330 dpi)

[Pics courtesy of Barnadas Huang gallery]


Summer Favourites


I have never experienced winter. Though it would be nice to build a snowman and sip hot cocoa in front of a fireplace, I have no doubts I’ll be complaining about the bitter chill, just like I’m bitching about this Indian summer.


So to thank my lucky starts, I’m sharing a list of my favourite summery beauty products, starting with this gorgeously scented body oil from Sothys made with lotus and cherry blossom. I could wax lyrical about the scent, but it’s its staying power that I truly adore.

Tip: Although the oil absorbs fairly fast into the skin, I spray onto my palms to warm it up for a speedier absorption and to minimise wastage.

Domestic goddess tip: Apply in the bathroom to prevent getting the oil on your stuff and prevent it from mixing with dust – a real nightmare to get rid of, taking time away from your other goddess duties.

(Note: Intrigued by the Egyptian goddess icon, I googled the Sothys Institute, and discovered a whole universe of yet more intrigue.

You have heard of the value and the elaborate picking process of the May rose – the main ingredient in Chanel No. 5. Well, the Sothys institute is just as dedicated to the ingredients that go into its products. Like Chanel who has its own May rose farm, the institute has a garden where plants are studied. Visitors are most welcome and a restaurant within the compounds serve seasonal food.

This is a story that deserves more research, and will form part of my French education 🙂

In the meantime, go to Les Jardins Sothys’ website to find out more.)

Smoky Christmas Eyes 2014


Glam up your round neck tee with smoky eyes!

Glam up t-shirts with smoky eyes!

I used to work in a makeover studio, as a stylist-cum-makeup artist where I designed various looks for patrons – hair worn down, hair worn up, sporty, glamourous… You get the idea.

The girls who came in tend to wear little to no makeup in their daily lives. Hence they are usually quite horrified when they see themselves with smoky eye makeup – complete with false eyelashes – for the first time. And we always placate their nerves by telling them the lights in our photo studios are so bright they’ll look washed out if colours are applied with a light hand.

Well, I reckon it’s just a matter of getting used to your new smouldering look  plus they are the ideal match to the Christmas nails I had previously demonstrated. And when everyone is ooh-ing and ahh-ing over how glamourous you look, get ready to reap not just the compliments but also the extra glow of confidence that just welled up from within – knowing you pulled off a look you had previously never considered and a makeup job well-done.

Practice is key to perfectly executed smoky eyes, so whip out your brushes now and follow my step-by-step instructions.

You’ll need:


  • Bobbi Brown’s holiday edition Mini Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick Trio (in Espresso Bean, Smokey Topaz and Pink Sparkle – respectively, a dark brown, bronze and light pink all sprinkled with a light dusting of shimmer)


  • Lancôme’s Hypnôse Doll Eyes (mascara) in So Black!
  • M.A.C.’s Lipglass in Impossibly Sweet (appropriately named, I might add, because of its bubble gum scent)



  • Eyeshadow brush – the brush head is rounded and is about the size of the pad your small finger.

I love that the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick glides on without tugging and dries to a shimmery finish. Plus, the Pink Sparkle doubles as blusher – saves you the trouble of fumbling around for it during touch ups, and toting another brush.

And I adore that the Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes curls lashes like magic – no eyelash curlers, no lash abuse!

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Swipe Smokey Topaz across your lid, close to the lashline, and blend upwards, forming a domed shape.
  2. Next, swipe Espresso Bean in the outer corner of your eye in a horizontal V. Then blend with fingers, or use the eyeshadow brush for a more polished look.
  3. Line outer third of lower lashline with Espresso Bean, and follow with Smokey Topaz for the next third. Or right up to the inner corner for more definition.
  4. Apply two coats of Hypnôse Doll Eyes to eyelashes.
  5. Swirl Pink Sparkle on the apple of cheeks, and blend. Yes, the Bobbi Brown cream shadow stick is versatile that way!
  6. To give definition, swipe Smokey Topaz twice very lightly under cheekbones, and blend with fingers.
  7. No lipstick, your eyes are the focus. Just smear Impossibly Sweet in middle of lower lip, and with the residue on the lipglass wand lightly dab upper lip.


Christmas Nails in October? (It’s never too early)

Christmas baked goods from Furama Hotel

Christmas baked goods from Furama Hotel

As I’m typing this blog post, I’m doing four other things simultaneously:

  1. Munching on Christmas cookies.
  2. Contemplating this uncharacteristically warm October, and thinking over what BFF said about how the haze contributed to this freakish heat (very valid argument considering dust and soot particles, from all that burning in Indonesia, trap the sun’s heat).
  3. Trying not to ruin my freshly manicured Christmas nails.
  4. All the while hoping my attempt at tricking my mind into thinking of cooler climates – or, at least, cool climate activities (see points 1 and 3 above) – would take my mind off point number 2.

I work in a magazine firm and we work two months in adavance so we can bring you December’s fashion trends, new menus and art exhibitions. And of course, in order for us to write about upcoming events and offerings in the malls, we receive Christmas press kits – fragrance coffrets, and said cookies in point 1 – from them even way before reindeers and snowy wonderlands appear on their facades.

So, really, what I’m trying to say is: It isn’t too early to start thinking about that manicure to go with that party dress. And of course, the perfect excuse for me to start counting down to Christmas – my fav time of the year!

Without any further delay, I present you my how-to on creating fabulous Christmassy nails.


I picked, from left: NARS in Fury; 3.1 Phillip Lim in Gold Viper; Butter London in Union Jack Black; Laura Mercier in Forbidden


  • You could pick two colours traditionally associated with the holidays, like red and green, or gold and silver.







  • I created an updated version of the French manicure, where instead of having just a contrasting colour across the tip of your digits, that colour goes all around – kind of like a picture frame.



  • Apply two coats of the base colour and allow to dry thoroughly – a quick-drying to coat like Seche Vite helps to cut down wait time – before applying the second colour.




  • The second colour goes right to the free edge. It’s just easier that way, you can never achieve a perfect square freehand. (You can leave it just like that; which I recommend on shorter nails to make them look more elongated, and also because an all-around border tend to make fingers appear stubby.)



  • Paint the edge of your nails with the first colour to complete the “frame”.
Clockwise, from left: Chanel F/W 14/15 couture shot by Karl Lagerfeld; Gucci silver loafers; Chanel sandals with bow detail

Clockwise from left: Chanel F/W 14/15 couture shot by Karl Lagerfeld; Gucci silver loafers; Chanel sandals with bow detail



Before I end this post, I’ll leave you with two thoughts: won’t the purple-and-silver just look adorable with the silver loafers from the Gucci Cruise 2015 collection; and oh-so-festive with these silver sandals from the Chanel Autumn/Winter 2014/15 collection.

A Prayer to Samsung

Would the presence of white coats have soothed my nerves?

Would the presence of white coats have soothed my nerves?

My Samsung Tab 3 died on me, absolutely refused to boot up, after I brought it home barely two months ago.

After a two-week internal struggle (aka denial), I finally got around to schlepping its lifeless carcass down to the service centre in Plaza Singapura over the weekend. And it was packed, much like your regular general practitioner’s clinic on weekday mornings, except nary a white coat was in sight; instead the staff wore black Samsung-emblazoned polo-shirts.

Sitting across Nazeer, the diagnostician assigned to me, I could only watch helplessly as he turned Tabby (yes, I named my phone) over this way and that looking for scratches and possible puncture wounds. I was reminded that even though Tabby was still under warranty, if she was subject to any malicious bodily harm – and my diagnostician proceeded to list the possible scenarios: manslaughter (smashed), drowning (immersed in water), third-degree burns et cetera et cetera – there would be a price to pay.

After what seemed like an interminable interrogation – Nazeer firing questions and in turn meticulously documenting the how, who, when, where, what happened while I listened in on the sob-stories of others; I can’t help it, bedside manners were very much lacking, no partitions to protect us, the caretakers of Samsung devices, nor our modesty when we invariably shed a tear or two – Nazeer gathered his report and stapled the sheaves of paper with a loud click.

I steeled myself for the prognosis, “Miss Yap, we will be retaining Tabby and your charger. It may take us two or three days to get back to you,” but failed to master my legs, and stumbled unsteadily out of my chair (on hindsight, my boots might have been pinching).

Before exiting the service centre, I noticed my hands – a hallucination perchance, caused by perhaps exhaustion, perhaps grief – were illuminated with an almost benign, albeit blue benediction… I looked up and there it was: the Samsung sign in big blue neon. Oh why not, I’ve got nothing to lose at this point, and offered up a prayer, “Yes, I used to be a devout iPhone user, but I swear I’ll sing the praises of your name if you deliver my Tabby safe and sound back into my palms.”

[Writer’s note: I’m happy to report Tabby came back to me safe and sound. A big thank-you to Nazeer who insisted on the thorough check-up!]